This Time I’m Not Leaving Without You

I am having a total love affair with Brussels at the moment. Before Christmas I went to check out the Winter Markets I enjoyed myself so much that I decided to take a short break after a harrowing couple of weeks of moving home and dealing with divorce crap. I stayed in the same little studio in the red light district, I am resisting the urge to say “I really felt at home”. I do love this area of Brussels though. It’s right by the Turkish area and the majestic Puccini Church, its actually called something else but it is the church where Puccini’s funeral mass was held in Brussels. I made a concerted effort to not eat out a ton, but I had to have, in fact its compulsory when you are in Brussels, Frites of course and Belgian Waffles.

I went to apparently the most famous Friterie in Brussels Maison Antoine. It’s a hut in the middle of the EU district and it sells the most bloody delicious fries. No where to sit but you can hole up in one of the cafes or bars surrounding the stall and they will happily let you consume away with a beer or wine bought from them.  It was absolutely peeing down so of course we had to go to a bar to consume away. Right frites done! Waffles next. Off to Maison Dandoy the queue was out the door but we persevered.  We ordered both kinds of waffle, the Liege a soft doughy texture that tasted buttery and sweet and caramelly and needed nothing extra. The other Brussels waffle was not as plumfy, it was crispier, the batter was runny rather then a soft dough. It was really really good. Crispy and buttery and sweeter then the Liege but delicious all the same. On the way back to the studio I had to stop at this amazing cheese shop near the Grand Place, Fromagerie Langhendries. Its run by a lovely couple and the selection of cheeses was incredible. They had this amazing aged Edam. I think it was 14 years old and it was delicious, I then had to buy some Manchego and also a really smelly L’exqse Herve Cheese. This is a cheese made in Belgium washed with beer. It didn’t last very long!

Of course I cannot leave the country without arranging some kind of cooking demo or lesson. I had arranged to teach my friend’s son how to make sushi. I taught him how to make California Rolls and we made Nigiri and Maki. I really didn’t warm to the idea of traipsing around Brussels looking for sashimi grade fish. If you are going to eat fish raw it has to be specially bred for Sushi. Otherwise you can end up with some pretty nasty parasites in your stomach. I thought it would be a great idea to ceviche some mackerel. And use that for the Nigiri and also to go inside the Maki. It was a success and in fact I made so much we had ceviche mackerel for breakfast with scrambled eggs. Yum!

I leave you with a few photos of my trip and also my recipe for ceviche mackerel.

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WillSushi

Ceviche Mackerel

You don’t have to use this recipe for just sushi as I said it was delicious with scrambled eggs for breakfast or on its own for lunch or with a light peppery rocket salad. As usual I call it a recipe but the measurements are to do with your taste. Adjust the chilli or sugar to your demands. Just make sure you use enough lime or lemon juice to cover the fish so it “cooks’ in the fresh juice.

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets of fresh Mackerel de boned skinned and cut into bite size pieces
  • juice of half a lime
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 or 2 red chillis – chopped very finely
  • 1 clove of garlic – chopped finely
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash of soy sauce
  • tiny dash of wasabi paste (optional)

Place all the ingredients except the fish into a bowl and then stir well. Leave for 5 mins then taste, adding a little more sugar or lime or lemon juice if needed.

Place the fish gently into the mixture making sure every piece is covered. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 20mins.

If using for sushi then I take a piece of fish and use it for making Nigiri, placing it on top of a bite size piece of moulded rice.


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I Have No Lid Upon My Head

Hang on a sec Lola, I just want to take a picture, it looks really good. “Mum its toast! I hate your job, I wish you had another job, I don’t care if we have no money, I don’t care if we become homeless…”  Well I guess its an improvement on the whole dead, spitting on grave scenario we had a couple of weeks ago.

I did photograph the toast and in order to placate the 8 year old, I asked her what she would like for dinner. I will make whatever you wish my love, oh love of my life, darling child of mine..You get the picture.

“I want sushi, I was going to say chicken nuggets but now I want sushi” Well ok sushi it is.. pretty easy, I have the nori and the mat, just need to get a couple of bits for the filling..Done.

I haven’t made sushi for ages. I forgot how much fun it is. I really is not hard, not hard at all. I guess the most difficult thing is rolling the first one. But once you have done one you can totally bang them out. I usually do veggie ones. If I am feeding proper people, I will buy sashimi grade fish, but most of the time I make up my own fillings. I love California Rolls, I became totally addicted to them when I was living in San Francisco. The best sushi place ever Yoshi’s in Fillmore Street. Fabulous food. It makes me sad to think about it. Totally miss San Francisco.

Well I will leave you with my recipe for California Rolls (and the photo of the infamous toast). Please make them and they will make you happy!

Rachelle x

toast

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California Rolls

I totally forgot to buy the crab sticks for this but had some smoked salmon at home so used that instead. I will not be winning any awards for the neatest Sushi maker. They are totally delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sushi rice (or pudding rice if you can’t find sushi rice)
  • 1 packet of crab sticks, torn or cut into small sticks (or use crab meat if you want or smoked salmon)
  • 1 Avocado – cut into sticks
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (for the avocado)
  • Half a cucumber – cut into sticks ( I scrape out the seeds with a small spoon)
  • 1 small packet of sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 packet of nori
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy Sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger for serving

Serves 2-3 people

Method

Ok first cook your rice. Put the rice in a large colander and rinse thoroughly under a cold tap. The put the rice in a large saucepan and fill with water. I know everyone talks about measuring 3 times water etc etc. Can’t be bothered with that, just make sure there is plenty of water. Season with some salt and bring the rice to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook for another 10mins or so until the rice is slightly aldente (got a bit of a bite to it). This rice is a short and fat and sticky. I tip it out into a colander and rinse through briefly with cold water. Purest will be horrified at what I do next but do I care? Take a piece of foil big enough to lay the rice out. I use foil, because you will probably have rice left over so you can wrap it up and chuck it into the fridge.

While the rice is cooking chop up your veg and have it ready on the side. Make sure you sprinkle lemon juice on the avocado to stop it turning brown. Take your crab sticks put them in a bowl and mix them with the mayo.

When your rice is laid out, sprinkle over the rice wine vinegar.   Then take a chopping board and lay out your sushi rolling mat, longest side nearest you. place a piece of cling film on top of the mat, this will stop the rice from sticking to the mat. Place a piece of nori shiny side down on the mat. Wet your fingers and spread an even layer of rice over the nori, leaving a seam of nori showing on each long side.

Then sprinkle on your sesame seeds. Pick up your rice covered nori and turn it over so the rice is now on top of the cling film. This sounds easier then it is, but just flip it and a bit of rice may fall off no problem. Once you have flipped a couple you will be a pro.

Then about a third up from you (ie not in the middle) lay a strip of Avocado, Cucumber and crab meat. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder. Pull away the mat and set aside. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used. Cut each roll into 6 pieces.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.


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